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Romacaca & Hooh Why Meet Again at GP

Mark Hoffman and Earl J. Trostrud, Jr.’s Hooh Why posted a 17-to-1 upset winning the $150,000 Sunshine Millions Filly & Mare Turf last year with Frank Calabrese’s 3-to-2 favorite Romacaca second. The two 7-year-old mares will meet again in Saturday’s renewal of the 1 1/8 miles turf course test.

Hooh Why and Romacaca met again here last out in the $100,000 South Beach Stakes going 7 ½ furlongs on Dec. 9 and Romacaca was the winner with Hooh Why third, beaten a length for it all after shipping down from her winter base at Tampa Bay Downs. Jockey Ron Allen Jr. gets a return call on Hooh Why and Francisco Torres retains the mount on Romacaca in the field of seven.

“We might have run her back too close in her last couple of starts,” said co-owner and sometime trainer Mark Hoffman of Hooh Why. Hoffman has hauled the widely-traveled mare to stakes engagements throughout the east, mid-west and to Woodbine in Canada over several seasons. “This time she’ll have 40 days since her last race and we’re coming with a full tank.”

A daughter of Cloud Hopping, Hooh Why first burst on the national stage as a 3-year-old in the spring of 2009 when she first came to Gulfstream to finish second by a head in the Sunshine Millions Oaks (discontinued). She was then shipped to California to finish third, beaten a head for it all by Stardom Bound in the Santa Anita Oaks (G1) before scoring the biggest victory of her career in the Ashland Stakes (G1) at Keeneland.

The South Beach marked Hooh Why’s 12th start of the year and 47th of her career in which she has posted 11 wins, 11 seconds and nine thirds for earnings of more than $1.1 million. Naturally with her record Hooh Why will have a future as a broodmare.

“That’s the plan this spring,” said Hoffman. “After this race we’ll breed her and bring her back to run a couple of more times in foal. I wouldn’t consider doing it if she wasn’t so sound.” Hooh Why will run Saturday with Gulfstream-based Nicholas Gonzalez as trainer as she did in the South Beach.

It has been nearly four years since Frank Calabrese claimed now 7-year-old Romacaca at Gulfstream Park for $25,000 out of her fourth career start, and a victory on Saturday would push her career earnings past the $1 million mark.

“She’s never been better and hasn’t lost a step,” said trainer Danny Miller, who guided the daughter of Running Stag through most of her 3-year-old season after the claim and got her back in his barn last summer at Arlington Park. “She may even be better with age as she relaxes more in her races than she did when she was younger. We’ve been pointing for this race since we got down here.

“She’s at an age where you would consider breeding her with what she has accomplished, but we haven’t talked about that as yet. Frank (Calabrese) loves to race. She’s very sound and there is no reason she can’t continue to perform at the top level. Naturally, I’d like to keep her in training.”

Romacaca won her first three starts after the claim for Miller, including the Pucker Up Stakes (G3) at Arlington and has been a consistently high-class turf stakes performer throughout her career of 16 victories from 32 starts. Other career highlights including victory in the Matchmaker Stakes (G3) at Monmouth Park in 2011 and the Modesty Handicap (G3) at Arlington in her first start back with Miller last summer.

Completing the field for the Filly & Mare Turf are Farnsworth Stable’s Speak Easy Gal (cross-entered in Distaff), Brinker Hill Farm’s Millenia, Regalo Mia, Peter Vegso’s Refining and Gary Aiken’s Callmethesqueeze.



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